In the age of sanitary pads and other easier options, it’s difficult to fully comprehend the agony suffered by the women of older generations during periods. One can ascribe any number of religious and cultural significance to the taboos that pushed women into menstrual huts, it goes without saying that they were (still are, in many parts of India) subjected to unspeakable inconvenience, pain and humiliation.
India is a land of narratives. And the narratives built upon the “crimson flow” are many. Although menstruation is a natural, cyclical and biological occurring, the experience varies with each woman. Each one can tell a different story.
Here’s a moving account on a woman’s periods, her “ritual” dips and the donkeys (yes!) as seen from the eyes of a young, innocent boy. Although using cloth pads is now being looked at as sustainable menstruation as it does not leave behind non-biodegradable waste, I thought of including this post in the sanitary waste series for the simple reason that it offers a rare male perspective on a subject that even women hesitate to discuss openly.
Thanks to N JAYARAM for sharing this beautiful blogpost with you all. I am sure you will find yourself immersed in this short story just as I did.
Our trip to a small village near Tiruvannamalai began at the break of dawn on a weekend. I was accompanying my inhouse help Kaveri (name changed), 21, to a trip home that would have her commit to a consanguineous marriage with a man she hardly knew. Continue reading
Years of hiatus ended abruptly when I was compelled to visit my village in North Karnataka. Compelled I was because nothing else but only my uncle’s death could have taken me back there. A monstrous 10-wheeler truck had run over him and he had died with his eyes open. It felt as if he stared at death and slid into a world of his own. Continue reading
Her humour was many-layered. The essence would lay hidden between the layers, above them, beneath them and everywhere else. Her repertoire of anecdotes, folk songs, free verses, ditties and wisecracks was so rich that each time we prodded her a little, she would burst forth with many more juicy tales and no one would ever give it a miss.
My grandmother had stories about people and animals and people and animals connected to those people and animals and so on and so forth. She knew so many people, their personal histories, their faces and characteristic tics; the way they dressed, walked, ate, sat down and stood up—details, details, details and details.
No one complained. They just listened. And laughed.
Wrinkled and wizened, her mind would take a stroll down the past so effortlessly that she would come back with many more vignettes and memoirs and nuggets of wisdom. For her, the art of storytelling would come as easy as plucking flowers.
Sounds like a nice person? You may be wrong. She was spiteful and so casteist that she would not let anyone beyond her caste touch her. She would scream whenever a child darted out from nowhere, touched her accidentally and ran off (frightened). I remember how she used to clutch at her walking stick and point at my friends viciously meaning: “I will hit you so hard that you won’t look at the direction I sit”.
I could not invite my friends home. I hated that. Continue reading